Scent of a Mother

By Srichandra Venkataramanan

 

Every mother has a smell that is unique to them. Some smell of freshly ground coffee, some smell of a blend of turmeric and sweat. Some smell of wetness blended with a hint of the incense stick that she lights in front of the God. When you were small, very small to keep your eyes open after nine, she would pick you up, kiss your sticky lips and whisper, “Get up my love. It’s dinner time.” With an incoherent garble of words you would try to hide your sleepy self in her bosom. Do you remember the smell?

She would smell of freshly prepared rotis mixed with a tinge of love and happiness. And the day you would come home with your report card, "Maa I’ve stood third in class. Look Ma, look.” She would hold your report card with trembling fingers, would try not to shed a single tear and yet smell of wet soil after a spell of rain. She wouldn’t express, she would never do – her hidden desires, wants, likes, dislikes. But when after a spell of rain and thundershowers when she would join you in picking up raw mangoes strewn all around, giggling in mirth all the while, you would faintly see a glimpse of the little girl hidden in her.

When she would hold on to the string of jasmines a little longer, and close her eyes is ecstasy while letting those flowers settle on her partially wet hair, it was then you would know that she does love flowers. That would be the only time she would smell of flowers. And jasmine, intertwined with her wet hair would take the perfume to a totally different level. She would never smell of anything particular. The smell of coconut oil, fried brinjals, mango pickles, camphor, medicines would all blend into that hither unknown perfume – the scent of motherhood!

But for a change, just to see that surprised hint of smile on her lips, this Mother’s Day, adorn her with the scent of flowers. Let her smell of fresh lilies, of vibrant roses, of heady tube-roses. Gift her flowers, let her happiness bloom. Let her know that the little sacrifices that she had done for you, the blood and sweat that she had expended in bringing you up is worth a paradise full of flowers and more.

Let the perfume of flowers blend with the scent of motherhood.